Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - Laver Cup 2022, Marco Trungelliti

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer ‘are complicit in how bad the system is’ claims ATP player

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been heavily criticised by ATP player Marco Trungelliti, who claims that they ‘never say anything’ about the wider issues within the tennis system.

Trungelliti has spoken in La Nacion newspaper about the prize money offered on the ATP Challenger tour, which is the level below the men’s main professional tennis tour.

The Argentine took aim at Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, while praising Novak Djokovic when speaking on the topic, “I think it is indispensable. People may not like it, but Federer and Nadal never said anything. Whether you like it or not, they are complicit in how bad the system is, because they were not able to open their mouths even once and fight for the rights of the players.

“If they ever did it it was internally, but it didn’t change anything. Only this year the Challengers’ prizes were changed a little, but they are still embarrassing when we supposedly came out of the most golden era in the history of tennis.”

The No.236 added, “You can’t be complicit in the fact that 80-100 people make a living from tennis. It’s what has always bothered me and will continue to bother me. As players, they can be very good, but as humans trying to improve the system in general, they seem very poor to me. This is what Djokovic and [Vasek] Pospisil are doing today as well. Plus, all that work at the PTPA takes up time and energy.”

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic were all part of the ATP Player’s Council, which is a group of elected players that are supposed to act as a voice for the rest of the tour.

However, 24-time major winner Djokovic stepped down from the council in 2019 to form his own organisation known as the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association).

The Serb formed the PTPA alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil, as an association of male and female tennis players who represent singles players in the top 500 and doubles players in the top 200 of the ATP and WTA rankings.

Marco Trungelliti - Instagram Post 2023

Prize money on the ATP Challenger tour has actually improved over the past year, having increased by 60% from $13.2million to $21.1million since September 2022.

It is not the first time that Trungelliti has spoken out on wider issues within tennis, having revealed that he was approached by match-fixers back in 2015 that lead to three of his Argentine compatriots being sanctioned (Federico Coria, Nicholas Nicker and Patricio Heras).

Trungelliti is returning to his home country for the first time in five years to compete in an ATP Challenger event in Buenos Aires, revealing that he has feared for his safety since outing the match fixing scandal.

“I did not return and played only in Europe, which did not guarantee me absolute security either,” said Trungelliti. “Maybe in Andorra yes because everything is smaller. But there were places, even in Europe, where I didn’t go. I played everything in Spain and Italy. I only went to Banja Luka once.”

The 33-year-old continued, “Something that happened to me, linked to depression, is that when the tournament ended I wanted to return home as soon as possible, which was the only place where I felt safe.

“Today we returned to the country [Argentina] because I also want my son to meet his grandparents and my grandmother. Afterwards, it may be that I’m playing here, I feel bad and I don’t want to come back, but that’s another thing.”

Trungelliti made a positive start on return to his home capital, having won his opening qualifying match and will look to confirm qualification against Gastao Elias later today.

Inside the baseline…

Although Trungelliti’s concerns may be valid, it does seem a bit unfair to single out Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the prize money on the ATP Challenger Tour. In terms of the match fixing, it was commendable for the Argentine to expose what was going on behind the scenes, despite knowing that it could have an adverse affect on his life. Hopefully Trungelliti and everyone else involved can move forward in a more positive manner.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.